FE McWilliam Gallery & Studio reopens with brand new exhibition

Sculptors at work: Anne-Katrin Purkiss’ photographs kick off a new summer season of artistic power at the FE McWilliam Gallery & Studio

Banbridge’s famous FE McWilliam Gallery & Studio and Sculpture Garden reopened to the public this week with an exciting new photography exhibition.

Named one of the artistic ‘Hidden Gems’ of UK and Ireland by the Irish Times and ‘Outstanding’ by The Irish Independent’s Top Travel Writer, Gallery, Workshop , the sculpture garden and accompanying café are dedicated to the memory of sculptor Frederick, born in Banbridge. Edward McWilliam, one of Ireland’s most influential and successful artists.

Located just outside Banbridge off the A1 off the Boulevard, the main arts and culture destination, which has been closed since December, offers a permanent display of iconic works by McWilliam, temporary exhibitions by Irish and international artists , as well as a craft shop and tourist information center.

A new exhibition – Sculptors at work: photographs by Anne-Katrin Purkiss – now takes center stage as part of its reopening plans, providing yet another great reason to visit.

Born in Germany, Anne-Katrin Purkiss studied journalism and photography at the University of Leipzig from 1979 to 1983. After working as a photographer for the Leipzig advertising agency Dewag, she moved to Great Britain and worked for the London Bureau of Associated Press until 1988.

Since then she has been a freelance journalist and photographer working for the Foreign Office’s London Press Service, the Cabinet Office and the Countryside Agency.

Jill McEneaney, Director of Arts, Culture and Heritage at Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon ​​Borough Council, said:

“After such a long absence, I am delighted to confirm that we will officially reopen our doors to welcome visitors – old and new – once again to experience an exciting new exhibit that we are actively planning for summer and fall 2021.

“When Anne-Katrin Purkiss photographed FE McWilliam in London in 1989, neither could have imagined that, more than 30 years later, the image would be hung in a museum dedicated to the sculptor in his hometown, Banbridge, County Down.

In the years since this chance encounter, Anne-Katrin Purkiss has photographed dozens of sculptors, often in their workshops, and I am delighted to unveil this special exhibition of her work to mark our official return.

Photographs from his collection have been published in national and international journals such as The Guardian, The New York Times, Die Zeit and Nature. Purkiss’ work has also been exhibited in England, Germany, Italy and Switzerland.

One of the most influential and successful artists on the island, Frederick Edward McWilliam was born in Banbridge in April 1909 and died in London in 1992, when the executors of his estate donated the studio of the sculptor and its contents to the city of his birth.

The sculpture garden was designed to capture the spirit of FE McWilliam’s garden in which his studio was located at his home in Holland Park in London. Divided by yew hedges and herbaceous borders, the garden offers a series of quiet “rooms” to observe the sculptures on their granite plinths.

Officially opened in 2008, the FE McWilliam Gallery is home to Quails at the Gallery. This award-winning café overlooks the sculpture garden and offers high-quality meals made with local produce from the Quails family farm.

A craft shop beautifully displays artisan products made by talented designers and artisans, including a wide range of jewelry, ceramics, local linens, and other gifts.

Included as part of its safety protocols, there are one-way artistic routes, two-meter social distancing rules, additional cleaning, hand sanitizing stations at regular intervals, and visitors are encouraged to wear covers. -chiefs.

Visitors are also encouraged to book in advance, even to see the main collection, which remains free, to control numbers and help reduce contacts.

“With all the security measures firmly in place in this expansive site and garden, the FE McWilliam Gallery and Studio is the perfect place to free your mind, contemplate and relax and everyone is guaranteed a truly warm welcome upon arrival. , ” Says Jill McEneaney.

For more information, visit www.visitarmagh.com.

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